The Marshall collection was originally founded in 1921 but under a different name. At that time it was simply a collection of books owned by an explorer named Howard Carter.
During his time aboard in Egypt, Carter added to his collection of rare books as a past-time while searching for the Tomb of the Boy King. By the time the tomb was found, the collection was no small affair; over twenty pieces. The collection was interred in Cairo by Carter as the beginnings of a project to rebuild the Great Library of Alexandria.
It is not known if Mr. Carter knew of the supernatural qualities of some of the texts in his collection but the oddity of each of them being both exceptionally rare and all dealt with the occult should not be ignored.
The collection remained in Cairo while the curse of the Boy King began killing those who had disturbed the Tomb. The books were left untouched until Hitler’s teams of archaeologists became combing through Egypt seeking treasures of the ancient world.
Once Carter’s books (the Carter Collection) were taken back to Cairo and packed for shipping, they were combined with other texts also seized throughout their activities in the country for a return trip to Germany. This new, combined, collection is then renamed as “Lot #49” for its transfer. The ship carrying the texts never makes it back to Germany, disappearing before it arrives in Monaco.
The ship is later identified, still afloat, out beyond the Straights of Gibraltar and into the Atlantic Ocean ten years later; in the mid-1950’s. The collection, “Lot #49”, was recovered from the ship but the entire situation was unsettling to the salvage team. There were no bodies found on board, no signs of distress or on-board fighting but the ship held its course and at full steam without being seen for quite a long time.
The collection was almost immediately purchased by the British Royal Museum as soon as it was recovered. The collection, at this point numbered now thirty pieces including a number of papyri samples. Many in the museum felt that the purchase of the collection was unwarranted but the curator at the time was determined to acquire it for their own display. Within days of the acquisition the curator was killed in a vehicle crash. The museum cataloged the pieces but they were put away in storage as funding was shifted into other research areas.
The collection sat untouched for quite some time until it was purchased by a substantial donation by a university in the States. The collection, called the “Balkin Collection” in reference to the curator who died in its procurement, was delivered to the University of New York for conservation but a fire was thought to have destroyed the lot. Naturally all parties were compensated heavily due to the insurance but the loss of the collection was a considerable damage to the world of rare occult books.
The “Balkin” was stolen by a Nosferatu agent working for the Tremere chantry in New York. The Nosferatu was well compensated for his efforts and the Tremere who requested the books began work to have them authenticated and researched. At the time, there was not much that could be done to recover images hidden within illuminations as over-paints and such but ten years later in the 1990’s, some work was possible to pull some of the images to light. The problem was that one of the manuscripts was written in vitae and could not be exposed to sunlight else it would fade or possibly combust.
The Tremere Chantry put most of the texts in storage until such time as technology could be developed to re-capture their hidden secrets. At the turn of the century, when the New York chantry had been attacked by a Sabbat invasion force, the documents were removed and considered lost by the clan of Warlocks.
Through means not yet understood, the collection (now called “the Marshall” collection as several texts had been removed or lost) was in the possession of Jacob Marshal.